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Before and after: trade continuity must prevail if business is to thrive

UK businesses trade worldwide through 40 agreements with 70 countries. But we risk losing these arrangements if post-Brexit continuity is not secured. If preferential agreements aren’t rolled over, UK companies become uncompetitive overnight, lose profits and risk being wiped out entirely.

The change we're calling for

It’s vital that companies are able to continue to trade on pre-agreed terms, avoiding tariffs and other market access barriers. We’re urgently calling on the government to secure continuity in any event. This must happen now if business is to escape disruption.

  • Secure continuity with the largest of the EU’s trade partners by Brexit day as a priority

  • If some trade agreements fall away, urgently seek to roll them over to reduce the time firms are trading under unfavourable WTO terms

  • In a deal scenario, ensure all 40 EU trade agreements are converted into UK bilateral deals by the end of transition

The impact of trade

Agreements support business growth

Trade agreements significantly improve market access across the globe for UK firms, which is why maintaining them is so important for prosperity. Without them, there is evidence that business would be subject to tariffs with devastating effects.

  • Whisky exports to South Korea are worth £71m a year. A 20% tariff would mean £14m of tariffs and whisky producers losing a lot of trade.

  • In Mexico, vehicles would face tariffs of 15-20% which could wipe out premium car brands in that market.

  • In the first year of the EU-Canada agreement (CETA) being in force, sales of UK goods to Canada increased by 14%.

Our progress and impact

The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.

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Support the change

  • Join the CBI

    Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK. Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to secure continuous trade once the UK leaves the European Union.

  • Have your say

    Unsure of how Brexit will impact trade for your business? Want to secure a foundation to plan upon? Share your views and shape our calls to government.

  • Make a difference

    This campaign is led by the CBI's International Trade team.

    Contact Ben Digby, Director of International Trade and Investment, to find out what UK business urgently needs to secure continuity of trade and how you can support it.